Google Intros New Chrome Experiments for Rubik's Cube Fans

Google's Chrome Experiments provide new Web-based ways of looking at the Rubik's Cube idea in innovative ways.

Google is celebrating the 40th birthday of the Rubik's Cube puzzle by introducing a series of Google Chrome Experiments that give puzzle lovers new ways of playing, experimenting and succumbing to the challenging 3-D puzzle.

The new Chrome Experiments based on Rubik's Cube were unveiled May 19 by Richard The, a designer in Google's Creative Lab in New York, in a post on the Google Chrome Blog.

"As everyone knows (right??), there are 519 quintillion permutations for the Rubik's cube, so May 19 seemed like a fine day to celebrate its 40th anniversary," wrote The. To commemorate the event, Google built the Chrome Cube Lab, "a series of Chrome Experiments by designers and technologists that reinterpret Rubik's puzzle with the full power of the Web."

Rubik's Cube was introduced in 1974 as the design of Budapest-based educator and inventor Erno Rubik, who "created the puzzle originally to help his students better understand spatial geometry," wrote The. "Released to the public in the 1980s, it quickly became an international obsession, bigger than hair spray and break dancing combined."

The cube is a three-dimensional block with movable pieces that must be manipulated by hand until each of the six sides display only one color. "… Rubik's Cube is more than just a toy," wrote The. "It's a puzzle waiting to be solved and a question waiting to be answered. Over the past 40 years, the cube has puzzled, frustrated, and fascinated so many of us, and has helped spark an interest in math and problem solving in millions of kids. That's part of why so many of us at Google love the cube, and why we're so excited to celebrate its 40th birthday this year."

The Chrome Experiments featuring Rubik's Cube principles include the 808Cube and SynthCube, which invite users to create their own music using the experiments; ImageCube, which allows users to make a custom, shareable cube of your own photos and GIFs; and Type Cube, which lets users send a scrambled messages to others, wrote The. "And, if you would like to explore the cube even further, consider borrowing the cube's source code to build an experiment of your own."

Google even created a Google home page doodle that used Web technologies such as HTML5 and Three.js to bring the cube alive on the company's search page, wrote The. Users could twist and turn it by dragging along its sides, or use a full range of keyboard shortcuts to arrange the puzzle.

"As a designer, it is always humbling when you encounter a perfect piece of design," he wrote of Rubik's Cube. "Good design attracts our attention with its beauty, doesn't need a user manual, is universally understood by anyone in the world, and is simple without sacrificing functionality."

Chrome Experiments began in 2009, when Google unleashed the project as a showcase for creative Web experiments for its Chrome Web browser. The projects are contributed by people around the world. Most of the experiments are built with HTML5, Canvas, SVG and WebGL. The Chrome Experiments are assembled by creative developers who are using HTML5 and JavaScript as well as open Web technologies such as Canvas, WebGL and WebRTC to explore the possibilities in mobile application design, according to Google. The projects are then posted for users to try out and explore.